|John Patrick Lambert, Dance Committee Chairman, Bridie Gregory, leading seller of Raffle tickets in Brooklyn, and Fr. Brendan Duggan|
|Betty McLoughlin getting her plaque|
End of the world
Last Sunday's Gospel is rather grim. Jesus talks about the destruction of Jerusalem (65 A.D.) and the second coming of Christ. Certain signs will precede the first, but the time for the second is only known to God. For the past two thousand years many people have predicted the end of the world. For many people today on the coastal regions of New York and New Jersey, the scenes of destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy resembles the end of the world. Many have lost everything they own and value. Thankfully few lives have been lost but some people died and many are homeless and without means.
Suddenly people now are more aware of the effects of Global Warming and climate change. We may not yet fully understand the effects of the polar icecap melting, but we know that sea levels are rising world wide, and that many areas of our land, especially at or near sea level are more and more prone to flooding, with resultant destruction of houses and property.
In the light of these speculations we read last Sunday's portion of the Book of Daniel, as well as the Gospel .The ultimate truth is that when God comes to arbitrate the course of human events, the record will be set straight. The Book of Daniel was written to encourage God's people who were suffering persecution for their religion 165 years before Christ. The mood of the passage is reassurance despite the fact that the end-time will be a period of great distress, the virtuous will shine like the stars.
The apocalyptic writings, which include the Book of Daniel, the Apocalypse of John, and last Sunday's Gospel, are somewhat like unraveling poetry. They are outside time, they focus on the timeless and eternal, the ultimate realities which underpin day-to-day events. Jesus knew how his followers thought and he used their images- as in parables, as well as prophetic apocalyptic literature, to teach them. In Sunday's Gospel, Jesus adopted the language of apocalyptic trials. Darkened sun, moon without light, stars falling, the shaking of "the heavenly hosts" and the glorious coming of the Son of Man. That was the language of Jesus day.
Today it is scientific terminology, based on real time which gives us ideas about the end of time. There are all kinds of scientific ideas of an expanding universe causing so much coldness that life would no longer be possible. More cosmologists predict a contracting universe which would kill all life on earth, due to too much heat being generated. More and more possibilities for Doomsday keep coming, but all predict an end to the world eventually.
What is important for the Christian is today's challenge to judge the times of our lives in terms of God's ultimate realities. We are to take part in an aspect of ongoing creation, the bringing of God's justice, love and mercy to all of the human race. With a sense of urgency, we are to prepare for death - or for the end of the world, whichever comes first, by working toward the realization of God's plan. We prepare for this by serving God in faith and love. We keep praying for the help of God to live out the Christian life, and we never get discouraged.
Holy Ghost Missions Dance
Last Saturday night we had a very successful fundraiser dinner dance for the Holy Ghost Missions in many parts of the world. We have about 3500 priests and brothers who work, many in very trying circumstances, in over 70 countries. These include Haiti, Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana and many more. The revenues generated by the dance help some of the poorest missions in many countries. $1000 in many poor countries will buy as much as $10,000 here in the USA. However we have to be careful in the way the money is spent and used, so we carefully decide who gets it. Many missions have benefited greatly over the ears from the dance funds.
We had about 300 people at the dance, and by all accounts they enjoyed it. The food was excellent and we had very good beer, wines, sodas and coffee. As usual Shane, of Shane's Bakery, New Hyde Park, provided the soda bread, plus nice apple and rhubarb pie, which was very well received. The band Rumor Has it was excellent and the dancing was enjoyable.
We had three great honorees: Mary Coyne and Betty McLoughlin, both from Mayo, and Thomas P. Giblin from New Jersey and Roscommon. The hall venue was setup and prepared by a very good dance committee and everything went according to plan. All in all it was a great night and many people were able to have a great night out at a very reasonable cost. The event was of course overshadowed by Hurricane Sandy, which did not allow some great supporters to attend. However on Sunday afternoon, a good fireman friend drove me down to the Rockaways, where I was able to take eight trays of food not used at the dance, which came both from the Butcher's Block and from Mike Peacock's Restaurant, Astoria. We delivered the food plus a couple of boxes of candle sternos, provided by St. Mary's Food Pantry to a mobile food kitchen set up on the side of the road near 112 Street, manned by a volunteer group of young people from Long Island. The food was heated and within a half hour was dished out to a lot of local people who really appreciated it. To get nice hot food on a cold day when you have no light or heat in your flooded/devastated home is a great thing. We also donated a $1000 to Catholic charities for the victims of Sandy, all around the Brooklyn Diocese. At the dance we also had a small 6 for $5 raffle, for great prizes donated by generous people. The Sr. Mary Food Pantry on St. Mary's Winfield, benefited by about $1350 from the raffle. All this money is needed as on Thursday last there were well in excess of 350 people attending the pantry to get food for their families, as we approach Thanksgiving. Let’s hope that the recovery efforts in so many devastated areas will proceed pretty fast, as so many people need both to rebuild and get their lives and families together again.